Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH
Age 8-10: Concept 4 - Exploration and Survival: Unit 3

Read the amazing story of Mrs. Frisby, a mother who struggles for survival as she strives to save the life of her sick son. Along the way, she encounters a group of mysterious rats, whose past is intertwined with her own. These intelligent creatures use modern technology including simple machines and electricity. Explore the genre of fantasy, follow story plots, and learn to recognize homonyms and understand acronyms.

This unit can be used independently but is designed to be taught in conjunction with the science and social studies unit Work, Tools, and Simple Machines.


  • Able to read and comprehend chapter books at a 4th or 5th grade reading level
  • Able to write an organized paragraph
  • Usually used by children in fourth grade

Table of Contents

  • Lesson 1: Sickness
  • Lesson 2: Spring is Coming
  • Lesson 3: A Visit to an Owl
  • Lesson 4: Rats in the Rosebush
  • Lesson 5: Meeting the Rats
  • Lesson 6: A Plan for Mrs. Frisby
  • Lesson 7: The Capture
  • Lesson 8: Life at NIMH
  • Lesson 9: The Escape
  • Lesson 10: Amazing Rats
  • Lesson 11: The Plan
  • Lesson 12: Working in the Night
  • Lesson 13: A New Home
  • Final Project: The Next Chapter or Book Float (2 Days)

Summary of Skills

Moving Beyond the Page is based on state and national standards. These standards are covered in this unit.
  • Analyze, compare, and contrast printed and visual information (e.g., graphs, charts, maps). (Language Arts)
  • Answer open-ended questions about text. (Language Arts)
  • Apply structural analysis to words (i.e., prefixes, suffixes, and syllables). (Language Arts)
  • Compose elaborate sentences in written texts and use appropriate end punctuation. (Language Arts)
  • Compose sentences with interesting, elaborate subjects. (Language Arts)
  • Conduct research on assigned topics using books and technology. (Language Arts)
  • Consider a character's point of view. (Language Arts)
  • Demonstrate learning and ideas through productions and displays such as reports and murals. (Language Arts)
  • Determine the plot, conflict, sequence of events, and resolution of a story. (Language Arts)
  • Discuss alternative solutions for a problem in a story. (Language Arts)
  • Draw and discuss visual images based on text descriptions. (Language Arts)
  • Draw conclusions about characters and events. (Language Arts)
  • Draw conclusions, make generalizations, and gather support by referencing the text. (Language Arts)
  • Identify abbreviations and acronyms. (Language Arts)
  • Identify and describe the setting of stories. (Language Arts)
  • Identify and discuss similarities and differences in characters. (Language Arts)
  • Identify and interpret elements of fiction and nonfiction. (Language Arts)
  • Identify and use the correct spelling of homonyms. (Language Arts)
  • Identify and use the correct spelling of homophones. (Language Arts)
  • Increase vocabulary through word study. (Language Arts)
  • Locate information in text for specific purposes. (Language Arts)
  • Make inferences and draw conclusions about characters and events. (Language Arts)
  • Participate in creative interpretations of stories. (Language Arts)
  • Read from a variety of genres (print and electronic) for pleasure and to acquire information. (Language Arts)
  • Recognize and apply story structure and text organization. (Language Arts)
  • Recognize the differences among genres of literature. (Language Arts)
  • Reference the text to determine the plot and sequence of events in a story. (Language Arts)
  • Relate characters and their actions to personal experiences and ideas. (Language Arts)
  • Respond to fiction by identifying areas for further research. (Language Arts)
  • Respond to stories and poems in ways that reflect understanding and interpretation. (Language Arts)
  • Share written and oral products in a variety of ways. (Language Arts)
  • Summarize main ideas from written or spoken texts using succinct language. (Language Arts)
  • Support interpretations or conclusions with examples drawn from text. (Language Arts)
  • Use a variety of strategies to organize ideas. (Language Arts)
  • Use correct capitalization and punctuation. (Language Arts)
  • Use correct irregular plurals, such as "sheep." (Language Arts)
  • Use dictionaries to find the meanings of words. (Language Arts)
  • Use oral and written language to present information in a sequenced, logical manner. (Language Arts)
  • Use prior knowledge to anticipate meaning and make sense of texts. (Language Arts)
  • Use singular and plural forms of nouns and adjust verbs for agreement. (Language Arts)
  • Use text and personal experiences to verify facts, concepts, and ideas. (Language Arts)
  • Write in different forms for different purposes. (Language Arts)
  • Write to communicate with a variety of audiences. (Language Arts)
  • Write to discover, develop, and refine ideas. (Language Arts)
  • Write to record ideas and reflections. (Language Arts)
  • Design a way to solve a mechanical problem. (Science)
  • Determine how people use simple machines to solve problems. (Science)
  • Determine how simple machines are used. (Science)
  • Observe and describe the habitats of organisms within an ecosystem. (Science)
  • Compare how people in different communities adapt to or modify the physical environment to meet their needs. (Social Studies)
  • Discuss, describe, and assess ways in which technology is used in homes and communities. (Social Studies)
  • Explore the role of selected fictional characters in creating new communities. (Social Studies)
  • Identify the impact of technological change on a community. (Social Studies)
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